Sixty kilometres west of Prague lies a beautiful area of rolling hills. Ancient woodlands surge across the hillsides on colourful carpets of bright flowers. These quiet, wild places intrigue you with their deep green mosses and suspicious looking mushrooms, but perhaps most importantly, these woodlands astound you with their endless perfect granite boulders.
Welcome to Petrohrad.
There are thousands of problems in this area with a huge potential for more development. The rock is exceptional quality grey granite with high friction and a huge variety of climbing styles. The grades vary from the very easy to the near impossible. Adam Ondra climbs here often and there are many high standard boulder problems up to Font 8B, many of them opened by Ondra himself. For those of us with more moderate taste, there are classic lines at every grade and angle.
The walk-ins are very short and the boulders are mainly free standing blocks, much like Fontainebleau, but sometimes there are slightly higher craglets, not unlike the smaller rambling gritstone edges found in Yorkshire, and on these are found some high ball problems and occasional short routes.
The bouldering is spread over a few named areas, all very close to the village of Petrohrad. The village lies centrally within the triangle of the larger towns of Plzen, Karlovy Vary and the capital city of Prague.
The local people are very friendly and good natured and enjoy chatting with visiting climbers. Local pubs and restaurants offer excellent food and beer at very low prices. The superb campsite in the nearby village of Jesenice is large, green and very cheap.
A visit to Petrohad won't leave you disappointed.
Picking a list of classics at Petrohrad is not an easy thing to do as there are hundreds of beautiful lines and problems but the following short list contains a few of the most classic hard problems:
The PADani Bouldering Festival
Every April there is an outdoor bouldering competition/festival held at Petrohrad, much like the Mello Blocco festival. Loads of new problems are discovered and cleaned-up ready for the competition and festival and it is a great fun event.
This year (2010) it is being held on the 24th of April.
Read more about Petrohrad and browse topos of the boulders here: Czechclimbing.com
|When do I go?
The weather in Petrohrad is in general quite good. In winter there is some snow, but it is often very climbable still. Many locals send their hardest problems in the winter months due to the good friction.
Perhaps the best seasons for visiting climbers are spring and autumn, as the weather will usually be good, the boulders dry and the temperature will be pleasant without being too hot. Climbing is still popular in the summer and due to the tree cover it is usually possible to find shady problems. Don't expect your skin to last too long on the rough granite if the weather is hot!
You could go in April and join the Padani bouldering festival: Czechclimbing.com
Who flies where?
Getting to Petrohrad from Prague isn't too difficult, just head west on the E48.
For those of you driving to Petrohrad from the UK - get a map! But basically you'll probably head through Southern Germany, passing Nuremburg towards Prague, then when you get to the town of Plzen in the Czech Republic head north for around an hour to reach Petrohrad.
Remember that to drive in the Czech Republic you'll need a window sticker that you purchase at the border that will cost you around 15 Euros.
Where do I stay?
The nearest camping is just a few kilometres away in the slightly larger village of Jesenice. The campsite is called Autocamping Jesenice and has hot showers, toilets, a washing up room and some wooden chalet accommodation for those who don't want to camp.
Contact details for Autocamping Jesenice:
Name: Pavel Kyselka
Ticks are very common in Petrohrad and they can carry Lyme disease.
Check this UKC Article for more info on Ticks.
What's the scoff like?
The food is in general very good and very cheap.
There's a little pub right in the middle of the village of Petrohrad itself and a good pizza place on the crossroads of the Karlovy Vary - Prague route.
Where can I buy gear and food?
The best place to buy food is the small supermarket in the village of Jesenice.
The nearest climbing gear shops are an hour away in Plzen. You can buy cheap climbing gear and bouldering mats there.
What else is there apart from the climbing?
Rest day recommendations include cycling around the local villages and a visit to the Karlovy Vary spa which is very famous throughout the Czech Republic.
Currencies, costs (2010):
Czech crone (1Euro=26Kc, 1 Pound=29 Kc)
Dinner costs 70 -100 Kc (3-5 Euro),
Two most important liquids:
What Guidebook do I buy?
The Petrohrad Bouldering Guidebook!
You can order the book online here: horoknihy.cz
Jack Geldard is the editor of UKClimbing.com and has visited Petrohrad only once, but intends to return when his skin has grown back!
Both climbers are members of Climbweb.net the international network of climbing websites, sharing information between websites to further benefit the climbing community.